Katarzyna Gorska

Dec 8, 2017 - 

3 min read  - 

How To Prepare Workshops – Tips From Tooploox Sketch Meetup

The idea

Should a software house only develop new apps? Or should there be some space to develop new skills? In our company, we try to share the knowledge and experience between the teams. At Tooploox, we’re starting a new project called Tooploox Academy, based on both internal and external workshops and lectures. Our design team decided to make a contribution to it.

Our first thought was Sketch. Sketch is an app used by our Product Design team on a daily basis. It helps us prepare mockups as well as final visual designs.

We’d heard about Sketch Meetups, which provide a space to share knowledge about this tool and build the community of Sketch fans. They take place in big cities all over the world but had never been held in Wrocław, so we decided to change it and organize the first meeting in our city. The Sketch meeting was also the first external Tooploox workshop organized by the design team.

“Meetup brings people together to create thriving communities.”

First, define

The first step was defining the target group. We assumed that the best approach is to start the Sketch meetings with the group of beginners. The idea was to show the basic functionalities of the app, share some tips and tricks and let the participants create their first project with our help, i.e. a simple mobile app design. We assumed it is an easier and more effective way than watching tutorials.

Who’s in?

The next challenge was to pick 30 participants out of 50 applications we had received. Creating the pattern to compare the answers in a fair way was essential. The key to picking the best matching candidates was finding the people who were just starting working with Sketch or hadn’t used this tool at all. We were also hunting for applicants who were about to start a new job or trying to change the area of their interest at work.

Two birds with one stone

Due to a big interest in the Sketch workshop, we decided to organize two separate events. The first meeting was prepared for Tooploox employees, the second one for people from outside the company. Thanks to that idea, it was possible to conduct a warm-up internal workshop and find things we could improve.

After gathering feedback from participants of the first edition, we added some fixes and upgraded agenda of the meeting.

Space

It became clear that we needed to improve the arrangement of the tables because the first set was too chaotic and didn’t let everyone have a convenient view of the screen. It was also necessary for the speaker to face the audience and keep the eye contact with them.

Assets and content

At the first workshop, we noticed that preparing a complete set of icons, photos, and text necessary for creating the mockup would speed up the work.

We also wanted the participants to easily find all helpful information about the event.

That’s why we prepared an email with:

  • reminder when and where the meeting takes place (+ the map),
  • reminder to bring the computer and charger,
  • reminder to install Sketch,
  • tutorial how to install the Craft plugin,
  • package with prepared assets and content for the app,
  • link to Axure prototype.

Swags

Everyone likes getting gifts! Every person got from us a bunch of swags <3. The bag contained notepads, pencils, stickers, and pins. We constructed also a cheat sheet full of Sketch shortcuts we picked. Getting feedback was really important to us, so we prepared a survey and attached it to the welcome pack. We were very happy to get so many answers, which helped us draw conclusions.

The good ones

  • It was really convenient to run the workshop in our office where we had everything at hand. Also, there was a small office tour after the meeting that everyone liked very much 😉
  • A good practice to help the participants remember more from the workshop is to prepare a short written summary. In this case, the cheat sheet served its purpose.
  • The participants appreciated the tips and tricks that are helpful in everyday work with Sketch.
  • We also got the feedback that our help during the practical part was very valuable and allowed participants to solve the problems quickly.
  • The results of the survey showed that 24 people would like to take part in a similar workshop again and 22 respondents found the workshop useful.

“It was probably the best workshop that I participated in”

Not everything was perfect

  • The meetup description that appeared on Facebook and Meetup page was in English. That could have been misleading because the workshop itself was conducted in Polish.
  • Next time we should provide more workshop space or invite a smaller group to make it more comfortable to move around easily.
  • Although we had some healthy snacks, the biggest problem of all was no pizza! That’s a MUST next time.

 

All in all, the meetup was a great experience for all of us. The workshop not only let us share some skills with others but also gave a large portion of trainer experience and started a new (let’s hope so) series of external events made by Tooploox.

Stay tuned and see you at next event!

Check out other design related posts like 13 takeaways from “Design Disruptors” by our Product Design team.

 

 

 

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